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The Independent Online
Read my lips. I'm quoting Truman

MARGARET Truman, daughter of Harry S ('The buck stops here') Truman, has attacked George Bush for 'hypocritically' invoking her father's name and his 1948 presidential election campaign when he came from behind to secure a historic victory. In an article in the Washington Post, Ms Truman, 68, says that first Mr Bush conjured up her father's spectre in his acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination. Later, in Dallas, he invoked the spirit of Truman's famous whistle-stop railroad tour across the country. Finally, in Springfield, Illinois - where Abraham Lincoln is buried - Mr Bush even cannibalised one of Truman's most famous campaign battle cries: 'Give 'em hell.' Although Ms Truman had found Mr Bush to be personally pleasant, she had not expected him to be a 'political plagiarist'. Not content with Truman, Mr Bush has now tried to enlist God on the Republican side. After he condemned the Democrats' programme for leaving out 'three simple letters, G-O-D', several church leaders have written to the President pointing out that God is a neutral and may - who knows - not even be American.

YESTERDAY'S announcement by the Home Office and British Medical Association that smoking can be officially listed as a cause of death has left Beryl '40- a-day' Bainbridge, the writer, in combative mood. 'Is smoking bad for you?' she asks us. 'Often I wake up after a night's drinking and smoking and feel amazing. Two days later, when I haven't drunk anything, I feel awful. They are not going to spoil my fun. It is quality, not length of life, that matters.' Miss Bainbridge is 57.

Please specify

SO MANY heads of state were in London last week for the Yugoslavian peace talks that at times things became a little confusing. A request to speak to the president at the Hyde Park Hotel in Knightsbridge elicited the response: 'Which president, sir? We have three in the hotel.' (To wit: Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian President, Momir Bulatovic, the President of Montenegro, and Dobrica Cosic, president of the rump state of Yugoslavia.) That may seem a pretty good example of oneupmanship, but a member of the hotel's staff recalled that it was not a patch on a previous occasion, when somebody telephoned the hotel's restaurant and asked to speak to 'His Majesty.' 'Which one?' came the terse reply; two kings were dining there at the time.

IT could only happen in New York, where a Bikini Carwash Fantasy has started up. Women in bikinis lure motorists into the carwash, and then dancers holding hoses gyrate round the car during a two-minute rinse cycle. Once the wash is completed they dance in celebration for six minutes on top of a mirror-backed platform. dollars 20 all in. The dollars 3 automatic machine across the street has not been put out of business.

Chequered journey

REVENGE is sweet. Marion Tinsley, the draughts champion who defeated the masterful Chinook (as in warm Rocky Mountain wind) computer programme after a marathon world championship in London on Saturday, was mysteriously thwarted when he attempted to fly home on Sunday. His flights - from Heathrow to Atlanta with British Airways and then on to his home in Tallahassee, Florida, with Delta Airlines - were originally fully confirmed. However, at the last minute he found to his surprise that his connection had suddenly been cancelled. The reason: a glitch in the conspiratorial communications between the two airlines' computers. A somewhat chastened Dr Tinsley eventually left for home yesterday.

ADMEN never sleep. Spotted at Nice airport last week, tanned after a holiday in the south of France, was John Hegarty, director of Levis' advertising agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Despite the 90F heat, Hegarty wore Levi 501s, no doubt on his guard for a chance meeting with Levis' marketing department. Any 501 cogniscenti, however, would have noticed a fatal flaw - Hegarty's jeans were dark blue (ie, brand new). Social death, surely?


1 September 1715 Duc de Saint-Simon records the death of Louis XIV: 'The previous night everything went from bad to worse. The gangrene had reached the knee and all of the thigh. Towards eleven the king was found to be so ill that the prayers for the dying were said. This restored him to himself. He repeated the prayers in a voice so strong that it rose above all the others. He repeated several times nunc et in hora mortis, then said: 'Oh my God, come to my aid; hasten to succour me.' These were his last words. All the night he was without conciousness and in a long agony, which finished at a quarter past eight in the morning, three days before he had accomplished his 77th year, and in the 72nd of his reign. He had survived all his sons and grandsons, except the King of Spain. Europe never saw so long a reign or France a king so old.'